Biu–Mandara languages

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Central Chadic
Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon
Linguistic classification Afro-Asiatic
  • South
  • Hurza
  • North
Glottolog bium1280[1]
Main Chadic-speaking peoples in Nigeria.

The Biu–Mandara or Central Chadic languages of the Afro-Asiatic family are spoken in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon. The most widely spoken is Kamwe, with 300,000 speakers.


Gravina (2014)[edit]

Gravina (2014) classifies Central Chadic as follows, as part of a reconstruction of the proto-language. Letters and numbers in parentheses correspond to branches in previous classifications. The greatest changes are breaking up and reassigning the languages of the old Mafa branch (A.5) and Mandage (Kotoko) branch (B.1).[2]

Jilbe was not classified, as no sources were available.

Blench (2006)[edit]

The branches of Biu–Mandara traditionally go by either names or letters and numbers in an outline format. Blench (2006) organizes them as follows:[4]

Newman (1977)[edit]

Central Chadic classification per Newman (1977):

Newman 1977


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Biu–Mandara". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Gravina, R. (2014). The phonology of Proto-Central Chadic: the reconstruction of the phonology and lexicon of Proto-Central Chadic, and the linguistic history of the Central Chadic languages (Doctoral dissertation, LOT: Utrecht).
  3. ^ Languages are closer to each other than are those of the northern branch
  4. ^ Blench, 2006. The Afro-Asiatic Languages: Classification and Reference List (ms)